Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) squared off in Utah, on Wednesday night, Oct. 7, for the first and only vice presidential debate ahead of next month’s election.
Frank Luntz said he watched the debate with 15 undecided voters from eight swing states who concluded that Pence was the “clear winner” of the showdown.
“This is clearly a better debate than the first one,” Luntz told Fox News’s, Brit Hume. “Mike Pence was the winner of tonight’s confrontation.”
According to most voters, Harris’s demeanor was “abrasive and condescending” during the debate and her reactions to Pence, which included smiling and smirking, was a turn-off, said Luntz.
“If this is a battle over style and substance, which is often the case with undecided voters because they simply do not choose on policy—they also choose on persona—this was Mike Pence’s night,” he concluded.
Ahead of the vice presidential debate, Harris’s campaign requested a plexiglass slab separate the candidates despite both having tested negative for the CCP Virus (coronavirus).
“If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it,” said Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller.
Harris centered her attacks on Pence, the head of the White House coronavirus task force, and the administration’s handling of the pandemic. She tore into Pence and President Trump for minimizing the threats posed by the virus outbreak when asked to describe what the Biden administration would do differently from the Trump administration.
“Can you imagine if you knew on January 28th, as opposed to March 13th, what they knew, what you might’ve done to prepare?” Harris said. “They knew, and they covered it up.”
Pence countered by emphasizing, “From the very first day, President Donald Trump had put the health of the American people first.” He praised the president’s decision to curtail nearly all incoming airline flights from China, where the pandemic originated.
“Joe Biden opposed that decision,” he continued. “He said it was xenophobic and hysterical, but I can tell you, having led the coronavirus task force, that that decision alone by President Trump bought us invaluable time to stand up the greatest national mobilization since World War II, and I believe it saved hundreds of thousands of American lives.”
Luntz said the undecided voters felt Pence did a better job explaining the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic and other policies.
A majority of Newsnationnow’s viewers also agreed that Pence won the vice presidential debate against Harris.
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) October 8, 2020